By Mamadou Dem and Suwaibou Touray
Gambia National Transport Control Association (GNTCA), which is the transport body recognised by the government, has been banned from operating in the country, according to a press release from the the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) announced on state television on Monday, January 25, 2016.
The press release indicated that the general public and all actors in goods transportation are being informed that GNTCA “is hereby banned from any involvement in the transportation sector in the country.”
It added that all GNTCA structures, systems and tariffs not approved by government are dismantled, dissolved and abolished.
According to the release, all traders, clearing agents, motorists and forwarding agents intending to transport goods out of the country, are hereby informed that henceforth, all export declarations shall be processed by the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) at the border exit post to replace the Manifests issued by the GNTCA. It added that it is reminding stakeholders that the Government of the Gambia shall spare no effort in ensuring that all physical barriers and impediments imposed by non government agents in the smooth flow of trade within the country are removed.
“This is with a view to implementing a new dispensation of guaranteeing the smooth flow of transportation through GRA, the Sea port and other locations, are contracted in a free and transparent manner free from any inhibitions imposed by associations, unions and other third parties,” states the release.
The release further states that “cargo owners, clearing and forwarding agencies are duly informed that queuing systems and other informal protocols imposed by the GNTCA for access to the port of Banjul and other loading centers, tariffs, manifests, mandatory payments of ‘mandaa’ bribes, other fees levied for the goods within and outside the country are duly prohibited and that interested parties are free to conduct their business transactions within the principles of free market, transparency and in compliance with the laws of the Gambia.”
When contacted, Mr. Mumini Sey, president of GNTCA said he cannot make any comment at the moment. He, however, acknowledged receipt of the said press release from the trade ministry.
Mr. Sheriff Dibba, Secretary General of the Association, also confirmed that they received a letter from the trade ministry ordering the association to seize operations.
According to him, they have not done anything wrong thus warranting them to stop carrying out their activities.
He disclosed that they have written to the Office of the President regarding the issue and are now awaiting a response from the said office.
It was also gathered that some members of the association, including branch heads, have converged at its head office for a meeting regarding the fate of their association.